Few feats in footy are as impressive as a bit of individual brilliance that results in an unlikely, unthinkable goal.
We’ve taken a look at some of the leading AFL Goal of the Year contenders, and from long bombs, snags from near-impossible angles, and goals that are plain unbelievable, there was a bit of everything in contention to take out the 2023 award.
AFL Goal of the Year finalists for 2023
Who will take out the coveted Goal of the Year gong? Here are the three finalists in contention for the Brownlow night honour.
Will Ashcroft (Brisbane) – Round 7
Ashcroft’s debut season with has left fans excited about what the young Lion has to offer, and if this display of goalkicking skill is anything to go by, the son of a gun is in for a brilliant career.
Reminiscent of Daniel Wells’ infamous ‘Jackie Chan’ goal in 2004 – with the added difficulty of a near-impossible angle – Ashcroft’s goal has had fans remarking ‘this will be hard to beat!’ since the moment it left his boot.
Paul Curtis (North Melbourne) – Round 10
Individual brilliance is again the theme with Paul Curtis’ epic round 10 contender, with shades of Chris Yarran’s 2012 Goal of the Year winner in this effort.
The young Roo’s snag had it all, from an unlikely gather of the footy to some strength and swiftness in evading two opponents, before a silky-smooth finish from a tight angle on the boundary. Box office viewing for the footy purist!
Dan Houston (Port Adelaide) – Round 16
When it comes to theatre and drama, Houston’s after-the-siren rocket against Essendon in Round 16 is surely the first to come to mind.
Sneaking over the line from beyond the 50-metre arc, with every player on the line, it’s certainly one of the more memorable match-winning kicks in recent memory. Look away now, Dons fans!
Goal of the Year honourable mentions
These efforts didn’t quite make the cut, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t special.
Charlie Cameron (Brisbane) – Round 6
One of the more unique goals we’ve seen in recent times, it seems only fitting that it should be off the boot of Lions goalkicking maestro Charlie Cameron.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the Round 6 snag was a stroke of luck, or a display of some serious goal awareness and footy IQ:
Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide) – Round 17
While the dribble kick seems now like a regulation skill at the AFL level, it’s hardly regulation under these circumstances.
From the tightest of angles, Rozee’s electric gather and finish certainly had the Adelaide Oval crowd up and about.
Izak Rankine (Adelaide) – Round 23
If he keeps this up, we’ll soon have to rename one of Eddie Betts’ Adelaide Oval pockets to the ‘Izak Rankine Pocket’.
The skilful, entertaining Crow produced this quick-thinking, mind-boggling effort in Round 23 against the Swans, with an almost look-away finish for the ages.
Also read: Mark of the Year contenders
If you liked our Goal of the Year piece, check this out too.
Right from the outset, 2023 has produced some special Mark of the Year contenders. So let’s take a look at five genuine contenders.